Sunday, December 28, 2008

Road Signs: Trouble ahead.

Tell your reader what to expect. It keeps them engaged and appreciative that you’re not wasting their time. Who wants to get to the end of a letter, policy, e-mail, memo, whatever only to realize there is nothing that truly interests or pertains to them?

Lay it out pretty high in whatever you’re writing.

I got a Christmas letter this season that teaches the lesson well.

The daughter-in-law of one of my best friends charmingly warns to expect Smiley faces and exclamation points as she tells the tale of her family’s year. (Knowing this up front greatly reduces how annoying they can be.)

She goes a step further and lets the letter reader know there will be headings in case one wants to skim to the parts he or she is most interested in.

We can all learn from her thoughtfulness and respect for her reader.

Yours in waste management, WMW

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